Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in cities across the globe Saturday urging a peaceful solution to the gulf crisis, and a peace rally in Rome turned violent in a clash between protesters and police.
The peace activists rallied as the U.S. Senate and House voted to endorse a United Nations resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq if it does not withdraw its troops from Kuwait by midnight Tuesday.Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of violent demonstrators in central Rome. As the marchers passed the Piazza Venezia several dozen members of the left wing Workers Autonomy movement, with their faces hidden by scarves and Arab headdresses, pelted officers with stones and bottles, police said.
Other demonstrations were held in London, Paris, Bonn, Washington and a several other cities. Crowd estimates provided by police and demonstration organizers varied widely in most instances.
Rallies sprouted up around Britain. The largest was held in London's Trafalgar Square after a march through the center of the capital. Police said 42,000 people took part, while organizers put the number at 200,000.
Outside the White House and on Capitol Hill, hundreds of protesters chanted anti-war slogans and carried signs opposing force as Congress debated the resolutions.
Police arrested five demonstrators with the Women for Peace group when they moved from the middle of the Capitol to the Senate steps, in violation of a permit issued for the protest.
Seven other people were arrested for throwing a body bag over the White House fence.
In Philadelphia, about 1,000 people marched from City Hall to the Liberty Bell, chanting "No Blood for Oil."
Peace activists rallied near the Capitol in Tallahasee, Fla., invoking Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy as a peacemaker.
Anita Davis, a Leon County commissioner and leader of the Tallahassee branch of the NAACP, noted that the Jan. 15 deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait falls on the birthday of the slain civil rights leader.